AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Open borders with testing instead of quarantine: IATA

Systematic testing of travellers can rebuild connectivity lost due to COVID-19.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), during its 76th annual general meeting, has called on governments to safely reopen borders for travel by using testing instead of quarantine.

“The systematic testing of travellers is the immediate solution to rebuilding the connectivity that we have lost,” said Sebastian Mikosz, IATA’s senior vice president for member external relations, noting that the technology and guidelines for implementation have been both developed.

“Now we need to implement, before the damage to the global air transport network becomes irreparable,” he added.

On 25 November, the IATA revealed data showing how truly devastating the COVID-19 crisis’ impact was on international connectivity because it has shaken the rankings of the globe’s most connected cities.

Asia-Pacific saw a 76% fall in connectivity. Amongst the most connected countries in the region, strong domestic aviation markets such as China, Japan, and South Korea have performed well amidst the crisis.

“The rankings shifted because the scale of the decline was greater for some cities than others,” commented Mikosz. “There are no winners, just some players that suffered fewer injuries.”

Concurrently, the IATA called for continued government financial relief measures to sustain airlines and avoid job losses within the sector. IATA said airport and air navigation service provider charges, fuel fees, as well as taxes across the supply chain should also be kept low.

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